The Cow in the Parking Lot

A Zen Approach to Overcoming Anger

By Susan Edmiston Leonard Scheff

Road rage. Domestic violence. Professionally angry TV and radio commentators. We’re a society that is swimming in anger, always about to snap. Leonard Scheff, a trial attorney, once used anger to fuel his court persona, until he came to realize just how poisonous anger is. That and his intense study of Buddhism and meditation changed him. His transformation can be summarized in a simple parable: Imagine you are circling a crowded parking lot when, just as you spot a space, another driver races ahead and takes it. Easy to imagine the rage. But now imagine that instead of another driver, a cow has lumbered into that parking space and settled down. The anger dissolves into bemusement. What really changed? You—your perspective.

Using simple Buddhist principles and applying them in a way that is easy for non-Buddhists to understand and put into practice, Scheff and Edmiston have created an interactive book that helps readers change perspective, step by step, so that they can replace the anger in their lives with a newfound happiness. Based on the successful anger management program Scheff created, The Cow in the Parking Lot shows how anger is based on unmet demands, and introduces the four most common types—Important and Reasonable (you want love from your partner); Reasonable but Unimportant (you didn’t get that seat in the restaurant window); Irrational (you want respect from a stranger); and the Impossible (you want someone to fix everything wrong in your life).

Scheff and Edmiston show how, once we identify our real unmet demands we can dissolve the anger; how, once we understand our "buttons," we can change what happens when they’re pushed. He shows how to laugh at ourselves—a powerful early step in changing angry behavior. By the end, as the reader continues to observe and fill in the exercises honestly, it won’t matter who takes that parking space—only you can make yourself angry.


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Meet the Authors
Susan Edmiston headshot

Susan Edmiston

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Leonard Scheff headshot

Leonard Scheff

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Review quotes
“This little gem of a book is full of practical advice, illustrated by engaging stories of ways to recognize—then handle—episodes of anger in our lives. It is funny at moments, thoughtful and thoroughly eye-opening in others, and requires no adherence to a Zen lifestyle to gain its benefits.”? — Book Passage, San Francisco
“Scheff, a lawyer and Buddhist who has conducted seminars on anger management, and journalist Edmiston take a fresh approach to the perennial issue of anger, which they identify as a way of responding to unmet needs or wishes. They show how, through the application of simple Buddhist ideas, readers can alter their responses to life's anger-inducing moments and move from anger toward compassion. VERDICT: This book is aptly pointed at those who are curious about Buddhist spiritual practice in today's world, with its many opportunities for rage and frustration; it should appeal to religious readers as well as mothers, business leaders, teachers, and others.”
— Library Journal
What do cows and parking spaces have to do with managing a third sector workforce?

Quite a lot, if your day-to-day life involves finding yourself in a situation where you might succumb to feelings of frustration or anger.
The Cow in the Parking Lot, by Leonard Scheff and Susan Edmiston, says you can manage your anger in a positive way through the power of Buddhism. So when a colleague screws up, a donor pulls out or a charity campaign misfires, reach for the yoga mat, assume the meditation position and chant your cares away ...

You may be wondering where the cow comes in. Well, imagine you're in a supermarket car park, circling for that elusive space. You find one, but before you can reverse in, someone else has swiped it. Now imagine that, instead of another driver, a cow has lumbered into the space and settled down. Your anger dissolves into bemusement.

Scheff and Edmiston explain that once we understand our anger "buttons", we can defuse a situation if they're pushed. Alternatively, just picture the cause of your frustration - be it a boss, colleague or donor - as a docile cow. That will soon have you smiling.
- Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today


What do cows and parking spaces have to do with managing a third sector workforce?

Quite a lot, if your day-to-day life involves finding yourself in a situation where you might succumb to feelings of frustration or anger.
The Cow in the Parking Lot, by Leonard Scheff and Susan Edmiston, says you can manage your anger in a positive way through the power of Buddhism. So when a colleague screws up, a donor pulls out or a charity campaign misfires, reach for the yoga mat, assume the meditation position and chant your cares away ...

You may be wondering where the cow comes in. Well, imagine you're in a supermarket car park, circling for that elusive space. You find one, but before you can reverse in, someone else has swiped it. Now imagine that, instead of another driver, a cow has lumbered into the space and settled down. Your anger dissolves into bemusement.

Scheff and Edmiston explain that once we understand our anger "buttons", we can defuse a situation if they're pushed. Alternatively, just picture the cause of your frustration - be it a boss, colleague or donor - as a docile cow. That will soon have you smiling.
- Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

The Cow in the Parking Lot: A Zen Approach to Overcoming Anger offers one of the best titles available on anger management. It's packed with insights and techniques that advocate getting calm instead of angry, and comes from a trial attorney who used anger to fuel his fiery courtroom presence. Buddhist wisdom permeates a powerful survey of what provokes anger and how to turn it aside.”

California Bookwatch
Product Details
Categories
Number of pages
197
Publication date
June 24, 2010
ISBN
9780761158158